ANSON — Alan Walker has been re-appointed fire chief every year for more than a decade. That changed last week after firefighters were told Walker wouldn’t have the support of the board of selectmen.

Now, instead of Walker directing rescue workers at fire scenes, former firefighter Jeremy Manzer will take the lead.

“I have no intentions to reinvent the wheel or to make … hate and discontent anywhere,” Manzer told selectmen at their meeting last week. “There’s a job that needs to be done, and somebody’s got to do it. I volunteered to step up.”

Selectmen voted 3-2 to appoint Manzer. Arnold Luce, John Bryant and Wendell Dunlap were in favor, and Inez Moody and Douglas Cahill were opposed.

Walker said Wednesday he is angry about circumstance surrounding the selectmen’s Jan. 10 decision.

Every year, the firefighters gather to nominate someone to fill the role of chief and then give their decision to selectmen, who have final say. For the last 11 years, Walker has been the nominee, and selectmen have appointed him.

When firefighters gathered to vote the day before the selectmen’s meeting, Luce, who is chairman of selectmen, joined them.

“The chairman of the board walked in to the fire department the night we were voting for fire chief, and he basically told the fire department not to present me as the nomination of the fire chief because they would not vote me in. I don’t know if that’s legal or not,” Walker said.

Luce said he attended the gathering to let firefighters know that Walker did not have the support he needed from selectmen to be re-appointed.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do to tell them beforehand, rather than them bringing a name forward that we’re not going to support,” he said on Wednesday.

He wouldn’t say why selectmen wouldn’t support Walker. “I’d like to thank Alan for the years he put in, but it was just time for a change,” he said.

Walker said he believes he would have been the nominee if Luce hadn’t spoken at the meeting. Instead, the 27 members cast votes for Manzer and Daryl Partridge. The final vote was 16-11 in favor of Manzer, Walker said.

Though he wouldn’t share specifics, Walker said he thinks matters got personal.

“I’m angry — more angry than anything — the time I’ve put in and stuff and then to be slapped around, treated the way the selectmen have treated me over the years,” he said.

Bryant also wouldn’t get specific about the situation.

“Alan’s a good guy. Alan’s a friend of mine,” he said. “He did a good job under the circumstances. There was just a feeling that it was time for somebody else to try it.”

He said the decision had nothing to do with a firetruck plunging into the Kennebec River in June.

The job of fire chief is a tough one, Bryant said, and there should be a full-time person in the position, possibly a regional one who serves the departments in the surrounding towns.

Walker, who works full-time for School Administrative District 74, said he completed a lot of his fire department duties on his lunch break or after work.

An effort to reach Manzer was unsuccessful on Wednesday, but he told selectmen he has been on the department 10 years and studied firefighting in college. He said he has helped manage the department’s training records for about the last five years. The Sentinel viewed a recording of the meeting made by Beeline Cable TV, Channel 11

Cahill voted against appointing Manzer, but on Wednesday he said he’s willing to give him a chance.

“He and I talked Sunday, and I’m not saying our differences have changed, but I’m going to give him a fair chance and see what happens,” he said.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]


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